“Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.” Isaiah 63:1-3
The warrior travels down a dirt road so typical of the Middle East. Just as typically, people come to watch. But it is not a convoy. No troops follow him. He comes alone from Bozrah, the enemy stronghold. It is a strange sight. Stranger yet is the stain on his clothing. Is that grape juice? No, it’s blood. Is he wounded? No, this is the blood of his enemies.
Who is this? Who is this a picture of? The question is not left in doubt. This is the Savior of Israel. We know him as Jesus. This is Jesus victorious. This is the Jesus who took on the enemies of God and his people—and stomped them!
When we think of the victory celebrated at Easter, we tend to forget what it meant to his defeated enemies. We forget that fallen angels and humans had taken their stand against God. They disrespected and rejected him. They waged war against the Lord of Creation and those who serve him.
The Holy One is a just God and loving God. But he is also the LORD vicious in judgment.
The triumphant Jesus reminds us that no one was with him when he defeated sin, death, and the devil. None else was qualified to undertake this mission. He didn’t need help! Of his enemies he says, “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath.”
Good thing we get to see this. We need to hear these words. The enemies of God give the impression that they rule; that they are strong; that they are winning the war of life and death.
It’s a lie! The war is over. They have been beaten. They have been stomped!
Then why doesn’t it seem like it? Because they are still allowed to dwell among God’s people. They still serve a purpose in God’s plan. Somehow, in some way, their existence is to the benefit of God’s people. We’ll leave all those mysterious details in God’s hands. We just dare not believe their lying propaganda.
Lies and propaganda have long been tools of warfare. History shows many times they have been effective. In 1945, about 100,000 civilians died when Americans attacked Okinawa. It is reported that most of these were deaths by suicide. There is a horrendous video of a woman throwing her baby over a cliff before jumping to join it in death. Then more adults follow. Recently, Reuters carried the words of a woman who survived those days. She said, “Four of us tried to commit suicide with one hand grenade, but it did not go off.”
Why this senseless carnage?
Japanese propaganda had convinced them that death was better than falling into the hands of the Americans who tortured, raped, and killed those who were captured.
The lies were believed. No propaganda effort was ever as successful as the one churning out lies from the pit of hell. If it is not telling people there is no God and sin is not serious, it is trying to convince others that there is no hope for them because of their grievous sin. These lies are not to be believed. Jesus warns us about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
We need not fear his power. It is the triumphant Lord who proclaims,
We live now in the aftermath of God’s victory. There still is some sniper fire. The defeated enemy still tries to put on a brave face. Still makes threats. But it’s all over. The columns of the enemy are being marched in an endless line into the eternity of dark despair. Meanwhile, the line of the faithful sets its course for the bright shores of glory.
They follow the One with the bloodstained clothes.
We pray: Lord Jesus, praise and glory be to your name! Enable us to have a firm grip on the reality that sin, death, and the devil have been conquered. We rejoice to sing, “Be still, my soul! The Lord is on your side.” Amen.
Points to Ponder
- How does the picture of the Prince of Peace fit with that of the bloodstained warrior?
- Why is it sometimes easier to believe a lie than to accept the truth?
- How do we overcome the idea that evil always conquers?